Each custom has a legend behind its creation. It is these age-old customs that give a break to our monotonous life. Usually, no festivals are celebrated in the month of Ashada according to Hindu Calender. It is the last day of Ashada; a new moon day is celebrated as the Bheemana Amavasya in Karnataka.
Shiva and Parvathi is worshipped during this festival
Photo Courtesy: Vinoth Chandar
This last day of Ashada (Amavasya) has a lot of significance and is celebrated in different places across India. Only thing is each tradition differs from place to place.
The festival is called as Bheemana Amavasya or Jyotirbheemeshwara Vrata in Karnataka. It is known by several names like Sati Sanjivini Vrat, Hariyali Amavasya in Uttar Pradesh, Divaso in Gujarat, Gatari Amavasya in Maharashtra. Though it is observed in many places, it has different customs behind it.
In Karnataka, Bheemana Amavasya is also called as Gandana Puje. This pooja is done women to pray for the well-being of the menfolk in the family. Married women pray for their husband's longevity and prosperity while the unmarried girls pray to get a good husband. It is one of the unique festivals in Karnataka.
On this day, Lord Shiva and Parvathi are worshipped in the form of Bheemeshwara. The tradition is similar to Vata Savitri Vrat performed in North India.
Legend of Bheemana Amavasya
There are many accounts of this legend. As per one of the legend, once there was a Brahmin couple who wanted to go on Kashi yatra. The problem was their unmarried younger daughter. They didn't want to take her on this long, arduous journey; so they decide to leave her with her elder brother and his wife. The Brahmin couple leaves for Kashi yatra but they do not come back for a long time.
Shiva is worshipped as Bheemeshwara
Photo Courtesy: Alice Popkorn
Here the greedy elder brother and his wife decide to marry her off to a dead prince in exchange for wealth. After the marriage ceremony, the King, the girl (bride) along with soldiers go to bury the prince on the banks of Bhagirathi River. While they are doing the last rituals, it starts raining and everyone begins to run away.
The king invites his daughter-in-law to go back to palace, but she decides to stay with the dead prince.The King leaves but she remembers about this Amavasya Vrata which her parents used to perform. So, the young bride takes the mud and creates two cone like structures (Kalikamba lamps) and starts praying. At that time, a young couple comes and ask her about this Vrata. The young bridetells about the story and seeks their blessing. So they bless her saying 'Dheerga Sumangali Bhava' which means, "May you live a long life with your husband" and asks her to wake the dead prince.
A yellow thread along with a flower is tied
Princess later realises that it is Lord Shiva and Parvathi who blessed her for the devotion. Hence, even to this day married women perform this pooja every year for 9 years after marriage. Women worship Lord Shiva and Parvathi on the day of Bheemana Amavasya.
Rituals on Bheemana Amavasya
Two clay structures are made and a yellow thread is tied around it. Women pray by giving offerings followed by a traditional song.Later, women tie the yellow thread (Kankana) to their right hand and pray to Bheemeshwara.
Women tie this thread on the right hand
A concept similar to Raksha Bandhan in North India is observed as Bandara in South India on this Bheemana Amavasya day for the prosperity of brothers.
Jyotirbheemeshwara Vrata is seen as the first festival of the year after the month of Ashada according to the Hindu Calender. Bheemana Amavasya 2016 is happening on August 2 in Karnataka. It usually comes in the month of (July-August) as per the English calender.